Weekend of Jan. 28-29

In which we have a few shake-ups in the standings and in the PairWise … which we should probably start paying attention to at this point in the season.

Nebraska-Omaha and Alabama-Huntsville split
– Speaking of PWR, this series dropped UNO to a tie for 16th, which isn’t good if you’re looking for an auto-bid into the tourney.
– Friday saw John Faulkner’s fifth shutout of the season. He needs two more to break the UNO career shutout record (seven), held by Dan Ellis.
– Even though the Mavericks scored four goals on Friday, from the sounds of things it took a while for their offense to get going … and then it didn’t really get going at all on Saturday.
– Although Saturday, it sounds like UAH netminder Clarke Saunders played out of his mind.
– Which is evident by the amount of shots UNO threw at him. The Mavs outshot the Chargers 59-17. The 59 shots marks the second-highest three period shot total in program history.
– Random: UNO wore special jerseys for the weekend that were auctioned off for charity. For pictures check out either of the recaps.

Wisconsin swept Michigan Tech
Poor Huskies.
– With Alex MacLeod’s goal at 19:19 of the second period Friday night, the Huskies broke a scoreless drought of 228:08.
– With Evan Witt’s goal about three minutes later, the Huskies finally had their first lead in 255:40.
– Unfortunately, they still couldn’t break their winless streak, as UW came back in the game to win 4-2.
– On Saturday, Wisconsin took advantage of senior leadership for their 4-1 win.
– There is one plus for Huskies fans (not that there’s really much to take solace in at this point):
“Our penalty kill was outstanding; we held the number-two power play in the country 0-fer on the weekend,” said Russell on Saturday night.

Minnesota State took three from St. Cloud State
– In which the Mavericks finally ended their streak of being (if I may be so cliched,) close but [with] no cigar.
– Interesting stat from the St. Cloud Times – Friday’s game was the fifth time in seven contests that the two teams went in to overtime.
– Drew LeBlanc had two goals on Friday, including the game-tying tally, which was described as “fluttering” and had “lack of velocity.”
“I told him that thing was a seven mile per hour shot,” teammate Jared Festler, who had an assist on the play, told the Times.
– Garrett Roe, with an assist on Festler’s first period goal, set the school’s all-time record for career assists with 105 (moving past Ryan Lasch, 104). He also moved into a tie for fourth with Mark Hartigan on the all-time scoring list (165 points).
– On Saturday, the Mavs broke said streak with a 6-2 win. It was the team’s first conference win since Dec. 4 (Minnesota) and the first time they’ve scored six goals since Nov. 26 (an 8-3 win over Mass.-Lowell).
– According to the Mankato Free Press‘s Shane Frederick, the team’s concern was getting that fourth goal … particularly thinking back to the team’s 4-3 loss at Denver on Jan. 14 in which the team was up 3-0.
“The key was No. 4,” Jutting told Frederick. “We talked about that a lot. When you have a team down 3-nothing, they’re down but not out.”
– Good strategy, especially when SCSU made it 4-2 early in the third.

Minnesota and Alaska-Anchorage split
Friday’s game was good for Gopher fans as it was the first time the team scored four or more goals at home since Oct. 15 (not including exhibitions).
– Plus the five goals got the fans free custard.
– The Seawolves made it a game in the first, as it was 2-1 going into intermission, but it was the Gophers’ night.
“The effort was evident from the first shift,” UM coach Don Lucia told USCHO’s Tim Brule.
“They got all five goals off rush chances. We talked about that we have to have the ability to defend the rush,” his UAA counterpart Dave Shyiak said.
– Saturday night, however, was a different story.
– Freshman Chris Kamal got his first career shutout, stopping 30 total shots and 16 in the second period alone.
– The teams were scoreless through two before Matt Bailey broke the tie 1:18 into the third and Kamal was able to hold on.
– Saturday also showed UAA’s ability to adapt on the second night of a weekend, something they’ve done quite a bit this season.
– Speaking of the Seawolves, more on them later this week (wink, wink).

Colorado College and North Dakota split
– The weekend was really a tale of two games.
– Here are some notes scribbled in my notebook from Friday:
1st – sloppy play, poorly executed passes/clears, fanned on pucks (speaking about North Dakota)
2nd – Chay [Genoway] goes down, team looks, quoth [Jayson] Hajdu (UND SID) “shell-shocked” … evidenced by complete defensive breakdown on [CC’s] third goal – [Jeff] Collett surrounded by three Sioux players and scores unmolested
3rd – would not have pegged [Jason] Gregoire for first goal – [Matt] Frattin had most and best chances
– In any case, CC may have played one of its best games of the season Friday night. If I’m being fair, though, UND didn’t look all that good either.
– Their bright spot on Friday was probably the aforementioned Gregoire, who scored the Sioux’s two third period goals to sort of make it a game.
– Including a super-shorthanded three-on-five goal … something I think I’ve only seen once before in all my years of watching hockey.
– That shorty by UND was the eighth CC has allowed all season – worst in Division I.
– Speaking of the Genoway injury, it was due to a legal check by Tyler Johnson and, according to Hajdu, suffered a lower-body injury.
– If Friday was one of CC’s best games all season and contained the best period the Tigers have played all year (the second, according to coach Scott Owens), Saturday was the exact opposite for the Sioux … right down to the second period being their best period all year (so said Dave Hakstol).
– Part of it may have been due to the black jerseys – the Sioux are now 25-1-2 in them all-time.
– Six different Sioux scored, including sophomore Joe Gleason, who got his first career goal (and first point of the season). Now, only frequent scratch Brett Bruneteau is the only Sioux skater without a point this season.
– CC goaltender Joe Howe also went down on Saturday night early in the third on a play that seemingly none of us in the press box saw, although from the aftermath we know that several players crashed the net. No word on his injury, though.

WCHA teams in the PairWise Rankings
Denver – t-2nd
North Dakota – t-2nd
Minnesota-Duluth – 4th
Wisconsin – 7th
Nebraska-Omaha – t-16th
Colorado College – 18th
Minnesota – 22nd
Minnesota State – 26th
St. Cloud State – t-30th
Alaska-Anchorage – t-30th